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Greetings from Jury Duty


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Hello, BenefitsLinkers! Your humble webmaster is writing to you this morning from jury duty at the Orange County (Fl.) Courthouse, where I have discovered a Cyber Cafe.

Just bought a cup of canteloupe from the blind coffee shop owner/operator here. One of the few aspects of "community" that I've seen in this overpopulated part of the world occurred when the blind merchant lost his contract because some bureaucrat decided he couldn't keep up once the big, new courthouse was built. He got his job back after a public outcry, and seems to be keeping up just fine. But you have to be honest when you tell him what you're buying.

There are dozens of people here, mostly nicely dressed. Each seems to be strategizing as to how he or she will be able to escape from magazine-waiting-room hell ... My plan is to answer that "why sure, they're all guilty ... otherwise why would they have been arrested?" We'll see if it works. Maybe I can say that 18,000 people are eagerly anticipating their copies of today's BenefitsLink Newsletter and it won't go out if I have to be on the crew that re-tries OJ. Do you have any suggestions? I'll check this message thread when I get a break.

I'll sign off for now and see if I can get caught up on all these Reader's Digests --

Have a nice day and let's be careful out there :)

Dave Baker cool.gif

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yeh, Dave. Don't settle a case like those described below. That

would be a "bad job, Walt, bad job"

>>It's time once again to consider the candidates

>>for the annual Stella Awards.

>>

>>The Stella's are named after 81-year-old Stella Liebeck

>>who spilled coffee on herself and successfully sued McDonalds.

>>That case inspired the Stella awards for the most frivolous

>>successful lawsuits in the United States. The following are

>>this year's candidates:

>>

>>1.Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000 by

>>a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a

>>toddler who was running inside a furniture store. The owners

>>of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict,

>>considering the misbehaving little toddler was Ms. Robertson's son.

>>

>>2.A 19-year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000

>>and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his

>>hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't

>>notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when

>>he was trying to steal his neighbor's hub caps.

>>

>>3.Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was

>>leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of

>>the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to

>>go up since the automatic door opener was

>>malfunctioning. He couldn't re-enter the house because

>>the door connecting the house and garage locked when

>>he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation, and

>>Mr.Dickson found himself locked in the garage for

>>eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found,

>>and a large bag of dry dog food. He sued the

>>homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused

>>him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune

>>of $500,000.

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Be sure to get your boxes straight....

I was in a courtroom in LA a couple decades ago waiting on a case trailing another. The lady being charged in a criminal case was obviously not guilty and the jury came back with the verdict. It was handed to the judge and he read wide-eyed "...find the defendent guilty." Huge gasps went across the courtroom, the lady dropped her head into her hands on the table, her lawyer stands up and threw his hands up in the air. After a brief silence, the jury foreman leaps out of the box screaming and waiving his arms wildly..."I checked the wrong box! I checked the wrong box!"

The judge changed the verdict and commented he had not seen or heard of anything like this in his 25 years on the bench (he was also finding it hard to deal with the scenario because he was extremely ill and could barely talk).

I was surprised someone didn't have a heart attack, the situation was that weird.

About that same time (eary 80s), a guy was jogging on the beach (I think it was under a Manhattan Beach pier) and a piece of concrete fell from above, turning him into a parapeligic. Although he deservedly received a sizable award, what happened next was startling. His ex-girlfriend (they had already broke up) sued for loss of sexual gratification. She was awarded $45 million by a jury. That case caused all municipalities in California complete loss of insurance coverage because no company wanted anything to do with covering entities subject to the same California jury pool as this case. The municipalities had to create their own private risk-pool after that.

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You could always take on an attitude similar to that displayed by one of my old Commanding Officers.

The military has something called NJP, or non-juducial punishment. Basically, the CO is the judge, jury, and executioner. Just before bringing a wayward Marine in for NJP, the CO told me:

"I hold a fair and impartial hearing. Now bring the guilty party in."

I also heard about a guy sitting in the jury box fiddling with a mini hangman's noose.

Hurry back.

p.s. Something like 99% of those receiving NJP are punished.

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You could consider serving on a jury if called because it's one of your duties as a citizen. (BOO! HISS! THAT WASN'T FUNNY AT ALL!) If they expect it to be a long trial though, tell them that as the owner of your own business, it'd be a hardship for you to be on a jury more than a couple of days.

And don't forget: Do it to them before they do it to you.

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I have been released. Almost got to sit on a misdemeanor criminal trial, but the whole batch of us were sent home shortly after we came into the courtroom. Apparently the sight of one's peers in a judgment mode can induce the settlement juices to flow more freely.

Great to hear from everybody, though!

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Guest yukon

At some point, they usually ask you what you do, or if you have any family members in the legal or law enforcement business.

At that point, you proudly stand up and loudly spout: "I AM AN ATTORNEY!". Note: for dramatic appeal, place your left palm on your heart, and extend your right arm towards the sky at about a 45-degree angle. It also helps if your eyes are watery...as if about to cry.

You'll be headed back to your car before the goose bumps wear off.

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Yukon's solution doesn't work everywhere. I formerly lived in Des Moines Iowa where insurance is the major industry. Attorneys were preferred jurors to insurance company employees.

I served on more than one jury that had an attorney on it, but all of the file clerks for insurance companies were bounced off even the criminal trials.

Mary Kay Foss CPA

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You attorneys sure are a fun bunch.

I'm a retirement actuary. Nothing about my comments is intended or should be construed as investment, tax, legal or accounting advice. Occasionally, but not all the time, it might be reasonable to interpret my comments as actuarial or consulting advice.

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